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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Four Social Networks To Look Out For

When we hear social media, most of us instinctively think of Facebook and Twitter – but new networks spring up all the time, and some have the potential to be just as popular. Below we’ve outlined the four most promising up-and-comers in the social media world. Keep your eye on these:

Klout

Social media marketers are constantly trying to find ways to measure their influence – through engagement metrics, total reach, or “likes” and “followers” – but Klout is the first real attempt to refine all of your social media efforts into one number – your Klout score. Though many analysts have completely disparaged Klout’s methodology (one commentary in particular infamously likened it to “internet herpes”), we consider Klout a first-mover in the extremely valuable sector of measuring total social worth. What’s your Klout score?


“These sores will absolutely RUIN my Klout score.”

 

How Does It Work?

Using Klout really couldn’t be easier – just log in with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account and watch excitedly as the social application runs all of your profiles through its extremely complicated algorithm. The number it produces is your Klout score – a total measure of your influence that considers a wide array of data, such as how influential your Facebook friends are, how many dead accounts follow you on Twitter, and how many unique mentions you get. Though the Klout score is still controversial, we believe that a refined social media score could be a highly valuable metric in the near future.

Schemer

The unstructured time that Google allots for its employees has historically produced some interesting results, but Schemer might be chief among them. A group of Google engineers think this latest social network might just be the cure for boredom. Self-described as an app for “doing awesome stuff,” Schemer is a kind of online bucket list that helps you set goals and alerts you to fun things happening nearby.


“They’re all schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds.”

 

How Does It Work?

The app is populated with user-uploaded “schemes” – goals such as “Learn to Ride a Unicycle,” “Climb the Sears Tower,” or “Outfit My Dealership Website With Some Awesome Live Chat Software.” As you add schemes to your account, Schemer learns what you enjoy and gives you more personal, customized suggestions. Users also can add friends as “accomplices” and team up to accomplish their schemes together. Though currently in closed testing, we expect that this network’s strong Google pedigree will launch it to the top of the social media charts later this year.

Path

When it comes to relationships, Path prefers quality over quantity. Imagine a platform similar to Facebook or Twitter, in which you can share your intimate experiences and personal photos – except you can only have 50 friends! That’s right, Path limits your following to 50 of your closest friends and family (which may lead to some tough decisions).

“THERE CAN ONLY BE 50!!!!”

 

How Does It Work?

Unlike almost every other social network, Path is extremely user-centric – there are no ads, brand pages or promotional content. This means that communication is intimate and personal, leaving the popularity contests of Facebook and Twitter behind. However, Path provides a glimpse of what a social network of the future might look like. When you don’t have to worry about fighting for everyone’s attention, you might end up actually listening to someone. Path is currently only for iPhone and Android users.

Sonar

Are you ever surprised to learn that your coworker knows your best friend from high school? Or maybe the lead singer of your favorite band is at the same restaurant as you – but you didn’t even realize it. With Sonar, you’ll be aware of these hidden connections right away. This mobile app alerts you when your friends, your friend’s friends, and other interesting people are nearby. Users will discover that it’s a small world, after all

.

“An ex-girlfriend is nearby? Fire the torpedoes!”


How Does It Work?

Imagine going to a conference and getting a readout of who will be there and how you’re connected to them. Sonar connects with your Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to bring your social networks to life in the real world. The radical concept of introducing complete strangers to each other through social media brings us one step closer to a true geographic network.

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As we see the social media world evolve around us, we wonder about how long Facebook can sit on the throne. 

Eric Miltsch
Stephen, Thanks for sharing. I'm a big fan of Path as it offers up a great opportunity to shut out the noise and drama form the never ending stream of content in the FB wall; intimate & personalized interactions is the name of the game here - fun app with a beautiful design. I like the concept of Sonar quite a bit, however I've been using Highlight instead simply because they've done a better job with on-boarding new users. Making connections is hard sometimes; knowing when you're close to relevant connections makes the whole process even easier. I'll save my thoughts for Klout & schemer for another discussion:)
Jim Bell
Thanks for the thoughts. What are your thoughts on usage of these platforms? I feel that there are just getting to be too many social media platforms out there. How many can one person have and use them effectively? I just don't see there being much success with these just do to the fact that people are just tied to Facebook. Look at G+. They had phenomenal growth, but the usage is averaged at about 5 minutes per month vs. 400 minutes per month with Facebook. It will be interesting to see how G+ works with Google basically forcing it on Google users. I just don't see Social Media platforms taking off like they have in the past. Just my 2 cents for what it's worth.
Eric Miltsch
Jim, Excellent question. As for "using" a platform such a Path, Sonar & Highlight - these are designed for either creating or maintaining specific interest groups/relationships - on a personal level. Think of them as personal branding tools. I've used Path for two years now & only keep 24 friends on it (the max you can have is 150) and of those 24 people, I've met all but three in real life. Sonar/Highlight are nice platforms to help you curate your networks - if you're into that type of thing, some people just aren't into social discovery. I do like what Highlight has to offer for professionals while you're at a large event, say a conference. (Here's an overview I did about Highlight recently: http://www.drivingsales.com/blogs/ericmiltsch/2012/05/07/social-discovery-the-next-wave-of-connecting As for Google+, I don't feel the success of the platform is directly tied with the amount of time spent on the site, rather it's success is tied to the total amount of Google users and the number of times the +1 button is used. Google says the +1 button is now being served 5 billion times per day - this is huge in that it's the initial foundation of prioritizing & ranking the Internet's content - this is an influence & identity system. Instead of relying on marketers who master the art of ranking content within Google's ecosystem, we now have a way to move towards an organic method of showing valuable content based on the recommendation of our circles. (very similar to the way we're influenced by the likes we see from our friends on facebook) Never got into Schemer simply because I can find plenty of things to do on my own; I can see how the platform may be of use to a younger user, living alone in a large city - doesn't fit my profile or my needs. And again - I'll save my breath on Klout as it's not even worth explaining because of how flawed I believe the platform is currently:)

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